Poems and Stories

A Clandestine Affair (AlDub Fanfic)

This was my entry for #AMACon2016 (AlDub-MaiChard Author Convention 2016) over at Twitter.  It’s a looong one and I’m still thinking if I need to write a next chapter or so.  You do not need to know who Maine and Alden (the loveteam of AlDub) are in real life to be able to read and comprehend this story.  Heck – I’m even thinking of changing the names and perhaps making a book out of it.  🙂  But we’ll see.  Let me know your thoughts and comments (if you have any) regarding this one.  🙂

=====================

A CLANDESTINE AFFAIR
Written by: Ruthie (@wuthie16)
Prompt by: @aosfiction
Prompt given: Winter and Summer

//

 

She had always captivated him.  Always.  The way she moved, the way she smiled, the way her eyes twinkled when she happened to glance his way.

Everything about her was ethereal and sublime.  He had always been enamored by her.  Even from afar.  Even when she did not know about him.  He was just her silent spectator.  Observing and admiring from far off.

And he had hoped it would stay that way.

Her, not knowing, about him.

Because there was one thing he knew about her that no one else did.

She was of the fae.

Yes, fae.  Fey.  Faery.  Fairy.  Fairies.  And not the Tinkerbell kind either.  These were the more dangerous kinds.

They usually stay invisible and inaudible to the human eye, only showing themselves when they were in need of something or anything from humans. Usually for their own sick, twisted amusement.  Most humans wouldn’t even notice that they were speaking to a fae because they always donned a glamour, to conceal their true forms if only for a short time. Fortunately, they have an aversion to anything made of or mixed with steel.  Unfortunately, they were also practically immortal, but not invincible; they could be killed if you knew how.

However, for the stronger ones of the fae, they could keep their glamour on for longer periods of time, and better endure the presence of steel. They also had a penchant for interacting with humans more often, mostly behind closed doors and underneath bed sheets.

He knew she was one of the stronger ones.  Maybe even part of a fae court, or worse, a member of royalty.

And if there was one thing that his grandmother told him about the fae in general, it was to never let them know you know about them.  If you could look the other way whenever you see a fae, do it every chance you get.

Unless you want them to beguile you.

Unless you want them to take away your humanity.

Unless you want them to make you fae.

And he – well, he made that mistake.  She looked at him.  He looked back.  No, stared back, to be honest.  He couldn’t help it though.  Everything about her held him captive, from her red dress to her dangerous curves to her luscious smile.  The moment their eyes met, she knew that he knew what she was.

And since then, she made it her mission to make him hers, no matter what.

 

//

 

“Oh, shit,” Alden Richards muttered the moment he saw the girl at the other end of their university library walking towards them.  He hurriedly grabbed his books and haphazardly threw them into his backpack, not caring if they get ruined or not.

 

Sam Gogna, his best friend and dorm roommate, looked at him quizzically, head tilted to the side.  “What’s up, dude?  Why the rush?  We’re not done with research,” he told Alden, pointing towards the book that he was still deciphering.

 

“She’s coming,” he whispered urgently, still busy stuffing his books and papers in his bag.

 

“Who?” asked Sam, frowning a bit. Curious, he raised his head and looked around until his gaze fell on the one girl walking towards them.  “Maine? Alright, so the hottest girl in school is coming over. What’s the deal?”

 

“You don’t understand.  You WON’T understand.  I gotta go,” Alden replied tersely, hoisting his backpack onto his back.  He turned around and was about to walk away when a hand on his arm stopped him cold. That same hand slithered up to his bicep, fingers curling gently over the tense muscle.

 

“Why the sudden hurry, love?” her husky voice breathed into his ear, making him shiver.

 

He turned to look at her, piercing through her glamour and seeing the fell creature that she was underneath.  Beautiful and exquisite, yes, but deadly.  And he knew she was there for him.

 

She had on your typical college girl look – white mini-skirt, white sneakers, blue cotton blouse, brown hair pulled into a high ponytail with a few wisp of hair framing her lovely face.  And her eyes — her mesmerizing hazel brown eyes — were staring right into his at that moment.

 

Underneath all of it, Alden could see what she really looked like.  Reddish fiery brown hair that flowed like it had a life of its own.  Slightly pointed ears like the graceful elves in fantasy. Full red lips that no lipstick color could ever copy. Skin so supple and smooth and slightly shimmering. And her hazel brown eyes, which looked the same for the most part, were glowing with sunbursts.

 

She smirked, fully aware of what Alden was seeing. Her hand slowly snaked upwards from his bicep to his neck, her other hand going up to join it as well, resting on his nape where she started playing with his hair.  Smirking still, she leaned closer and whispered, “Come now, Alden.  Cat got your tongue?” Her gaze slid down towards his lips and she wet hers unconsciously.

 

Alden closed his eyes, trying to ignore her proximity and her warmth, trying to ignore how his heart was beating furiously, trying to ignore how wonderful she felt pressed up against him like that.  He stayed still, arms at his side.  He wouldn’t give in, no matter what she did. Even though it was taking all of his self-control not to lean in and kiss her senseless, which was what SHE wanted in the first place. He would not give her the satisfaction. HE WOULD NOT GIVE IN.

 

Eventually, his silence won the battle. Maine slightly shook her head as she leaned even closer. “Tsk, tsk.  Oh, Alden.  One of these days…” she murmured a promise near his ear as she released him, taking one step away from where he was standing.  She smoothed her skirt and grinned back at him then started sashaying away.  Only then did Alden release the breath he didn’t realize he was holding, relief coursing through his veins.  He still followed her with his gaze though, berating himself why he still wanted to look at her even if he knew what she was doing.

 

Once she reached the double doors of the library, she turned around with a girlish air, catching him again in her gaze.  She impishly grinned, winked, blew him a kiss then stepped out the doors.

 

When she was out of their range, Sam whistled then chuckled, snapping Alden out of his reverie.  “Dude, is it hot in here or what?!” Sam laughingly asked his friend.  Alden didn’t reply. Instead, he sat down beside Sam once more and leaned back, massaging his temples.

 

“I don’t know about you man, but if a girl like that presses herself to me, I wouldn’t be able to control myself like you did!” Sam exclaimed, shaking his head.  He then opened another book and started writing down some notes.

 

“But seriously Alden – you’re the only guy that can resist Maine like that,” he continued looking up at his best friend.  Alden grunted something inaudible in reply.  “Most guys I know of have the hots for her, and yet you’re the one she’s gunning for.  But you don’t seem to have the slightest inkling of interest in her. Either that, or you’re holding yourself back.  What gives?”

 

Alden shrugged, choosing not to answer.  He opened his backpack and took out the books that he hastily put away a while ago.  He tried to read and write but his mind was going haywire, thinking of what had just transpired between him and Maine.  That short encounter they had still has his whole body tingling.  He closed his book, defeated, and thumped his head on it, groaning in the process.

 

Oh, Sam.  I wish I could tell you why I’m trying to resist her.  Why I couldn’t say yes to her.  Why she’s a danger to my well-being

 

But I am so close…  SO FUCKING CLOSE, to just letting go and giving in, damn the consequences. 

 

 

//

 

 

Alden walked back alone to their dormitories after that library incident.  Sam wanted to eat dinner out with some of their friends but Alden opted not to come, asking Sam to just bring back some leftover food or a burger on their way home.  He wasn’t quite hungry and he wanted to be alone for a while with his thoughts.  But more than that, he wanted to call his nana.  He needed to hear her voice and her advice.

 

Alden was raised by his grandmother, her being the only relative he had.  He didn’t remember his parents because of a car accident in the past where he survived and his parents didn’t.  He didn’t have any photos of them, either.  His nana told him that she didn’t have a great relationship with her daughter, Alden’s mom, when she married his dad and so she didn’t have any memoirs of them in her house.

 

There were only a couple of things that linked him to his parents.  The silver cuff bracelet he wore on his right wrist which he had ever since he was a child, and a small scar on his left back shoulder that resembled a snow flake, a parting gift from the accident according to his nana.

 

The bracelet always made him wonder. It had all these symbols around it that didn’t make sense to him. It was a gift from his mom, as his nana told him. His nana also said that under no circumstances should he take it off, but he couldn’t remove it even if he wanted to. It was too small to slide off his hand, and there wasn’t any visible clasp along the smooth surface. He did try once though when he was 7 years old and when he did – that was when he started seeing the fae folk all around them.

 

He remembered that day vividly.  He was in his nana’s front yard, playing some ball.  He couldn’t dribble properly with his right hand because the bracelet kept on getting in the way.  So he did what any sensible 7-year old would do.  He tried to remove it.  The moment he did, he felt a spark, a jolt of electricity coursing through him which made him look up, surprised.  And the first thing he saw?  A huge man, bordering on being a giant, walking across the street, that had leaves for hair and tree trunks for feet.

 

He panicked and cried out, stumbling over his ball, causing the tree man-giant to look at him.  His nana, hearing him shout, immediately went out to check what the commotion was about.  He saw her eyes widen, confirming that she was seeing what he was also seeing. She wasted no time in carrying him back to the house.

 

Shaking in his shoes, Alden asked his nana what the hell just happened. And that was the first time he got a lecture about fairies.  How they were real and how they walked among us.  How some of them were good and usually just ignore us but that most of them were not.  That was the first time he was given instructions on how to deal with them, how to avoid them and how to make sure that they never discover that he could see them.

 

That was 14 years ago.  Now at 21, almost graduating with a degree in creative writing (seeing fairies gave him a lot of material for his writings), he was still as clueless as he was then.

 

Well, not totally but he still didn’t know exactly how to absolutely avoid them.  Case in point – Maine.  Or known to some by her full name, Nicomaine Dei.

 

He first saw her a year ago, in the same library where she approached him a while ago.  She was sitting by one of the larger windows, feet under her on the chair while looking out on the grounds.  It was raining that day, gray clouds blanketing the sky. She had on that smile where it seemed like she knew secrets you wouldn’t ever be privy to.  She wasn’t exactly reading or anything — she didn’t have a book in front of her — but he remembered being awe-struck by her.  He didn’t know then that she was fae, only seeing her from afar.

 

He realized what she was a bit too late when after months of him going to the library just to ogle at her, she stood up and turned towards him, staring straight into his eyes, smiling that infamous sinful smile.  That was when he was able to actually see her for the first time.  How she had pointed ears, how she had that unnatural lip color, how her eyes had sunbursts in them when she was happy and storm clouds when she was angry or sad, and how her hair swayed like it was always being kissed by the wind.

 

That was when he also realized that she was invisible to almost all of the students in that library except to him.  He remembered giving himself hell for not noticing immediately.  That same day, Nicomaine Dei made an appearance in the uni as one of their students, enrolling in almost all the classes he had and coming on to him relentlessly.

 

He found her beautiful. Delectable, even.  And she was painfully aware of that. It was the reason why she was so brazen in enticing him, tempting him, beguiling him. But he needed to persevere.  He knew nothing good will come out if he succumbed to her sultry advances.

 

But dammit, she isn’t making it easy. And every day, she only gets bolder. What should I do…?

 

He sighed as he entered the dorm room he shared with Sam.  He walked sluggishly then threw himself on his bed, facedown, groaning as he remembered what just took place in the library.  Maine would be the death of him. Literally, if he wasn’t careful enough.

 

He sat up after wallowing for a bit and pressed the speed dial #1 on his phone.  He needed his Nana, badly.

 

“Hello?” Nana picked up after 3 rings.

 

Alden sighed in relief upon hearing her voice.  “Hi, Nana.  It’s me.”

 

“Alden, my boy!” she exclaimed happily.  “How are you?  It’s late already, why’d you call?  Are you ok?” Her voice then lowered, gaining an edge of worry. “Is there anything that’s bothering you?”

 

He sighed.  Nana knew that when he called, it was usually because something did bother him.  And he loved her for it.  But should he tell her about Maine?  No, he didn’t want her worrying about him even more.  He could handle Maine.  Well, he would try his damnedest to. He hoped.

 

“No, nothing Nana.  I’m fine, school’s fine.  I just… wanted to hear your voice.  I miss you.”

 

“I miss you too, my boy.  But you’re coming home this winter break, right?”

 

“I will try, Nana.  I might have to work on my thesis, worse comes to worst, but I will try to get everything done before the break at least,” he replied looking at the calendar beside his desk.  Winter break was almost 3 weeks away still.

 

“All right.  I can’t wait to see you, Alden.  I do hope you can come home this winter,” Nana said, her voice cracking a bit at the end.

 

“Nana,” he sighed.  “Are you crying?”

 

“No,” he heard her sniff at the other line.

 

“I can hear you, you know.”

 

“It’s just that— well, you’re 21 now.  You’re about to graduate.  And I’m just afraid that – “

 

“Nana,” he stopped her from going further.  “I’m not just going to leave you, you know that.  You’re the only family I have left.”

 

“It’s not that, Alden.  You’re 21 now.  You don’t realize how important that age is with you – “

 

“Yes, yes, 21 being legal and all that,” Alden cut his Nana off once more.  “Look, Nana.  It’s late and I know you need to rest already so I’ll let you go.  I’ll call you again soon, ok?”

 

He heard his Nana sigh at the other end.  “All right, my boy.  Take care always.  Be careful.”

 

“Always am, you know that Nana.  I love you,” he answered and then ended the call.

 

 

//

 

 

On the other side of the country, Nana was still holding on to the phone long after Alden ended the call.  She closed her eyes and said a silent prayer for her grandson.

 

He was already 21. Whatever needed to happen would now come about, whether she wanted to or not. She was but a mere human, someone who was unlucky enough to be born with the Sight. Praying was one of the few things she could do for him, and she’d do it with every bit of effort she could muster.

 

Dear God, please let him be strong enough for this next phase of his life.  I won’t be able to help him this time around.  He is pretty much on his own.  But he’s a clever young man.  I know he will be fine.  But please – please protect him.  That’s all this old woman is asking for. 

 

 

//

 

 

Maine entered the loft she was staying in the city, grinning like she just won the lottery.  Her handmaidens, what most call wood nymphs, or more specifically The Summer Girls, were waiting for her with new clothes to change into and food and wine ready as soon as she arrived.

 

Once inside and changed into a comfortable, flowing silk gown, she sat down on one of the couches in her living area, barefoot and without glamour now that she was in her own realm.  When she was settled properly and was more relaxed, she summoned one of her trusty advisors, Coleen.

 

She was eating fruit and drinking summer wine when Coleen came and curtsied.  “You called for me, your majesty?”

 

“Yes, yes.  Please, sit,” Maine gestured towards the love seat in front of her.  “There is an urgent matter that I wish to discuss.”

 

Coleen sat down and waited for Maine to speak.  She was giddy and couldn’t contain herself, something that Coleen noticed right away.

 

“I am absolutely convinced now that it is him,” Maine announced proudly, the smile never leaving her lips.

 

“Are you certain of that, my queen?” Coleen replied after a heartbeat.  “You’ve only met him a few months ago and we haven’t really tested his abilities yet.  You also mentioned that he has been resisting you. This is a matter of great concern,” she reasoned.

 

“Yes, yes. But he is the one.  The moment I saw him I already knew,” Maine replied, sure of herself, remembering the first time she met his eyes at the library.  “His aura hints toward great power, and great compatibility with mine.  Once he agrees, the Summer Court will be strong again.  Maybe even stronger than when Father and Mother ruled.  Think about it Coleen, summer dances and revels.  Never ending laughter and joy for all our fey.”

 

“But we need to get him to agree soon.  Winter is almost upon us,” Coleen reminded the queen.

 

“I know that,” she retorted, brows furrowing.  “Don’t you think I feel it?  I’m the one who feel it the most as they draw their strength from me.  Our fey are weakening with the dawn of winter.  We need a Summer King that would help me strengthen them for this.  Ever since Father –” she stopped, remembering her father, the late Summer King, her voice quivering.

 

“You did say that he is still resisting you.  If he is to be your Summer King, he needs to be able to be one with you, my queen.  Summer is all about love, seduction, happiness…” Coleen said changing the subject when she noticed the queen was almost on the verge of tears from remembering her father.

 

Maine sighed dramatically and took a sip of her summer wine.  “Yes, yes, I know, Coleen.  I know.  I am the queen, aren’t I?  But I’m making progress.  Just this afternoon, I felt him almost give in.  I don’t know why he keeps on resisting when I know for a fact that he wants me just as much as I want him.  Although…” she stopped as she contemplated something. “He has this curious bracelet that I’m pretty sure is faery-made.  I haven’t been able to look at it much but I think I know what it is.  I just don’t remember where I saw it before,” Maine continued.

 

“Do you want us to tail him and watch over him, your majesty?  I could also have several of our guards check on that bracelet, find out what it is and confirm if it is really one of ours. How could a mere human come across something faery-made? More importantly, why?”

 

Maine considered for a moment.  Then finally, she nodded her head in the affirmative.  “Go ahead, Coleen.  Make sure he doesn’t see you though, if you can manage that.  Remember what I told you about his Sight. He can see us for what we are.”

 

“Yes, your Royal Highness.”

 

Plans made, Maine’s crimson lips curled up in a devious smile. Resist all you can, dear. It won’t matter in the end. You will be mine soon, Alden Richards.  Very very soon.

 

 

//

 

 

Alden had always loved the cold ever since he was a child.  He loved the snow falling during winter.  He loved how each snow flake is different from one another.  He loved having these powdery flakes in his hair as he ran around during a snow fall, catching a flake every now and then on his tongue.  He loved how the snow would look like blanketed on trees, mountains and everywhere that it fell on.  He loved winter, period.

 

And he was excited with this coming winter.  For some reason he couldn’t explain, he felt that something special was going to happen then.  Whatever it was, he knew it was life changing.  So he was excited… and scared at the same time.

 

It was late afternoon sometime the following week when he decided to leave the confines of his dormitory and head out to the library, maybe get a hotdog or burger on the way.  Sam was napping so he simply left a note to tell him where he was going and to just text or call him if he needed anything while he was out.

 

It was briskly cold once he was outside.  Fall was about to end and winter was about to begin.  He smiled, feeling the first vestiges of the winter wind.  He closed his eyes and felt the cold, relishing in it.  He breathed deeply, exhaled and then opened his eyes.  He wasn’t really surprised to see a couple of faeries watching him from probably 20 feet away.  They were invisible; he could tell since they weren’t wearing any glamour on and people just kept on passing by them. But what unnerved him was the way they were looking at him.  They weren’t doing anything at all, they were just watching him.  And they have been doing so since last week.

 

What in the world…? This is getting annoying, and a little creepy.

 

Alden walked brusquely to try and get away from them.  Unfortunately for him, faeries were nimble beings and could follow him with no problem.  He tried ignoring them but to no avail.  He could see them from his periphery and feel them even if they were not totally closing in on him.

 

Are they just watching me??  What’s this?  Are they actually… Like guarding me??

 

Alden breathed a sigh of relief when he finally was able to reach the library doors and enter its premises.  He was panting.  He didn’t realize that he started running halfway through.  He took a peek outside and saw that they were still there, just watching the doors to the library.

 

What the…?  They aren’t leaving!  Why are they doing this?!

 

He was still peeking out when someone wrapped their arms around his waist from behind, making him jump.

 

“Shit!” he exclaimed, causing the librarian to look up from her front desk and glare at him.  He sheepishly smiled and waved at her before turning around and looking down to see who was hugging him. Although he already knew who she was even without looking.

 

“Hello, love.  Fancy seeing you here,” Maine purred, moving so that they were facing each other. She snuggled closer to his chest while looking up at him with a smoldering gaze.  Her doe eyes were showing daisies that moment, a sign that she could be feeling frisky.

 

How much more should I endure?!  Good lord, you think this is easy? It’s not!  Alden thought, breathing shakily, looking up and closing his eyes.  He was already having trouble with the way she was running her hands up and down his back plus the way she was slightly arching her back, her chest pressing into his.  He was trying his damndest not to place his arms around her and pull her towards one of the restricted sections in the library where no one could disturb them.

 

She grinned naughtily back at him when she noticed that his thoughts were already going a different direction, based on how his whole body quivered against her.  His heart also started beating furiously and he started to tremble and shiver at every pass of her hand down his back.

 

Alden pretty much ignored everything that was going on around them except for Maine embracing him.  Everything about her was calling out to him.  The way she looked, the way she smelled, and especially the way she felt against him.

 

Then he made the mistake of looking down again.  This time, the way her eyes heated up spoke of promises he didn’t know if he could still let pass.

 

She tiptoed and whispered closer to his ear, “Stop defying me Alden and just. Let. Go.”  She ended her statement with a little nibble on his ear.

 

With a groan — and a thought that he might regret what he was about to do but that he couldn’t care less anymore — he pulled her arms from his waist, held onto her hand and started pulling her towards the back of the library, his strides quick.

 

And what was at the back of the library?  Yes, the restricted sections.

 

 

//

 

 

Maine couldn’t help the triumphant grin that was currently plastered on her lips as she was being pulled by Alden.  She knew where they were about to go.  And she knew that she finally won this time around; that Alden just gave in to her.  Finally.

 

And just in time too.  Winter is dawning next week. 

 

They eventually reached one of the restricted sections at the back of the library where no one but very few students and faculty frequented.  Alden was walking briskly, looking at each hall of bookshelves, checking to see if there were people around and Maine had no choice but to simply follow him, giddy with anticipation.

 

At the very end of one hall, Maine noticed the lack of people (there was actually no people in there) and the lighting was quite dim, like one of the light bulbs was probably dead.  Alden looked towards both ends, making sure they were alone.

 

When he was satisfied, he pulled her in and almost slammed her against one bookshelf.

 

He slightly lifted her up so she was face to face with him, making her wrap her legs around his waist.

 

And without any further ado, he crashed his lips against her, both of them moaning at the sensation of finally being able to feel each other after months and months of resistance.

 

YES!  HE’S MINE!!  FINALLY!

 

His tongue darted out, seeking entrance to her mouth, which she gladly opened to receive him.  He moaned when their tongues first touched and when she sucked his tongue, he couldn’t help the deep growl that came from his throat, his hold on her tightening.   She smiled against his mouth, feeling victorious that she was able to elicit such reactions from him.  Her hands were not idle, roaming through his broad back, resting at the nape of his neck, holding his head to hers.

 

His hands also started to roam, when he was sure that she was hanging onto him tightly.  His light touches, sending jolts of electricity through her, started from her thighs (good thing she was once again wearing a skirt), going up towards her side, lightly caressing the side of her still covered breast.  She gasped softly, breaking their kiss, when his touch mildly rested there.

 

That sudden gasp of hers made Alden stop.  He rested his forehead on hers, eyes still closed, slightly panting, trying to catch his breath.   “I don’t know what it is with you, Nicomaine Dei,” he whispered.  “But I’m tired… So fucking tired of resisting.”

 

Maine grinned, knowing that Alden meant it as she rarely hears him curse.  She touched his face and continued smiling sweetly, making him open his eyes to look at her.

 

“Finally, Alden.  Finally, my love.  Finally, my king.”

 

 

//

 

 

King?

 

Alden thoughts were suddenly in jumble from that one word that Maine uttered.

 

King?  I knew she was a powerful faery but king?  What does she mean?  And me – king? What –?

 

“King?” he voiced out his thoughts and slightly pulled away from Maine, putting her down lightly.  “What do you mean by king?”

 

“You are to be my king, Alden.  You are to rule the Summer Court with me.  Together, we will make the Summer Court flourish once more.   There will be dances and revels and – “

 

“No.”

 

“No?  What do you mean no?” Maine asked, a bit taken aback.

 

“No,” Alden reiterated.  He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, thinking of how best to explain to Maine what he thought of all of this.

 

“Summer Court?  Summer Court?!  King?!  Are you the queen of this – well, this Summer Court?!” he asked incredulously.  “I knew you were one of the stronger fae but I didn’t expect – Didn’t think — No.  King?  Me?  No, just no,” he vehemently rambled, though not coherent enough.

 

He backed away from Maine, getting antsy and frazzled.  He started to rake his hand through his hair in agitation, his complexion turning red in nervousness.  He then heard a soft gasp when he did so and looked at the source of it.

 

Maine had both of her hands covering her mouth, her eyes wide and staring.  Not at him though but at the hand that was currently making a mess through his hair.

 

“Where did you get that?” she quietly asked that he almost didn’t catch it.

 

Alden looked at his right arm, frowning, where the silver cuff bracelet that he got from his parents rested on his wrist.  “Do you mean this?” he asked, showing her the bracelet.

 

Maine nodded, suddenly pale, still with wide eyes, now with clouds swirling in her pupils, looking at just the bracelet.  She looked like she just saw a ghost.

 

Alden shrugged and touched the peculiar writings engraved on it.  “I don’t really know.  I had it ever since I could remember.  My Nana said it was a gift from my mom and she told me never to remove it.”

 

“I knew it.  That bracelet is faery-made,” she whispered, now looking at him.

 

 

//

 

 

Alden was still going over what transpired between him and Maine 3 days later.  He skipped classes for 2 days in a row, feigning sickness when in reality – he just didn’t have the energy to get out and face everyone, her, most of all – as well as her bodyguards (and now, maybe his too?  Considering that even until now, they were outside his dormitory watching his window).  After confirming that his bracelet was indeed faery – she explained what it was for and how he could remove it without any consequence.

 

Her explanation was what was keeping him from going out and facing everyone.

 

Maine said that the bracelet was crafted for the monarchs of both the Summer and Winter courts by the Dark Court.  They use these bracelets to bind the powers of their children at a young age, to avoid any mishaps while growing up (since they were the strongest of the fae), and being taught the ways of fae royalty.  She said she had one as a child but was later on removed by her father when she was deemed ready for the powers of the ruling court.

 

She also confirmed that she was indeed the current queen of the Summer Court and that she needed a king to rule with her, to get Summer to flourish more than it already was.  Upon seeing him that fateful day, months ago – she knew he was special since he exudes an aura befitting that of a king. His attraction towards her only helped sealed her conviction.  She even got excited at the prospect that he was perfect considering he was wearing the bracelet – which meant that he should be royalty as well, right?

 

But then they both had a sobering thought when he suddenly asked, albeit doubtfully, if there was a possibility that he could be a part of the Winter Court instead.  Maine kept quiet from there on, considering the possibility that yes, he might be.

 

They parted ways after that, not without a lingering but smoldering kiss from Maine.  She mentioned that she would try to find out if the bracelet was from her own court or from the others and try to get to the bottom of this.  She was adamant that he was the one she needed, and that he would be her king, no matter what.

 

Alden was still coming to terms with what he had learned so far.  If whatever Maine was saying were true – then all his life, his being and the way he grew up were all but lies.

 

He knew there was only one way for him to confirm this.  Since time in memoriam – he grew up knowing just the one person who raised him almost practically from birth.

 

He needed to really talk with his Nana.

 

 

//

 

 

Maine was back in her loft, zoning out while talking with her advisors, Coleen and Janeeka, for almost 2 days now.  She was tired from all the suggestions and arguments she had been hearing left and right.  She was pretty resolute already with her decision regarding Alden but courtesy dictates that she had to go over everything with her advisors before appearing before the rest of the court and the rest of her fey that she had finally chosen a king.

 

“I don’t believe that to be the case,” Coleen stated.

 

“But we need to make sure.  Alden Richards is right.  What if he is of Winter?  What then?” Janeeka argued back.

 

“Then why is he able to touch our queen with no problem whatsoever?”

 

“Because of the bracelet, Coleen!  Or did you forget what the bracelet’s uses are for?  Which, by the way, we need to prove if it is indeed the one our monarchs use.”

 

“No, of course I did no – “

 

“ENOUGH!” Maine exclaimed, hand banging on the table which immediately silenced both Coleen and Janeeka.  “You’re both giving me a headache!  We’ve been going around in circles.  We’ve known about all this ever since yesterday and our discussion has been redundant.”

 

Both Coleen and Janeeka acknowledged the queen and slightly bowed down. “Yes, your majesty,” both murmured simultaneously.

 

“What I need to find out is if that bracelet is of our court or the Winter’s or maybe even of the Dark Court.  Maybe they created one for their own use as well.  I also need to know about what happened exactly to the Winter Queen’s child.  We all knew that the babe died, at least that was what the Winter Court told us – but now we need to make sure.  I want to know if Alden could possibly be of Winter,” Maine hurriedly said.  She stood up and started pacing.

 

“Winter is upon us.  I need to know this now, do you understand?” she faced her advisors, her eyes showing lightning, telling her advisors that she was serious.

 

“Yes, your Royal Highness.”

 

Yes, your majesty.”

 

Maine nodded after hearing both acquiescence from them, turning around and walking towards her bedroom.  “If for any reason, Alden decides to call on me or on us – let him in.  He must have a lot of questions and I intend to be here when he needs answers,” she instructed, closing the door to her room once she said all that she needed to say.

 

 

//

 

 

Alden had his phone in his hand for almost an hour now, debating whether it was a good time to call Nana.  He was part afraid, part confused, and part frustrated, with tons of questions running through his mind.

 

“Fuck it,” he muttered under his breath and proceeded to press the #1 speed dial on his phone for Nana’s number.

 

Nana picked up only after the first ring, almost as if she was anticipating his call.  “Hello?”

 

“Nana, it’s me,” he breathed.

 

“Alden…”

 

There were no ‘how are yous’, no ‘why did you call’, no ‘I miss yous’.  She knew his reason for calling, and that bothered him to no end.

 

“I guess you know why I’m calling then, Nana,” he started, exhaling a shaky breath, looking towards the ceiling of his dorm room.  He would not cry, goddamnit.

 

“Did they come for you already?” she asked sharply.

 

He shook his head in reply, then realized too late that his Nana couldn’t see him.  “You could say that,” he answered instead, resigned.

 

“I’m sorry, my boy.  I am truly and deeply sorry.  I made a promise to the Summer King not to let the Winter court find you.  It seems I have failed.”

 

Alden stopped, frozen from what he just heard.  Did he just hear that right?  Summer from Winter?  He stood up and with wide eyes, started pacing his room.  “Back up a little bit, Nana.  Summer King?  Winter Court – what?”

 

“You were kidnapped as a child by the Summer King as revenge to the Winter Queen for murdering his wife.  He wanted to kill you too to get even, but had a change of heart at the last minute – realizing that you were just a baby and had no issue whatsoever with him,” she explained, her voice started to garble.  Alden realized that she started to cry.

 

“So I am…?  Wait a minute, Nana – if that’s the case, then I am… The Winter Queen is… Then you – you’re not human too?” he asked, voice pitching slightly at the end.  He was getting agitated, running his fingers through his hair, phone clasped tightly in his hand, still walking back and forth his room.

 

“I am human,” she sniffled at the other end of the line.  “I had The Sight, however, ever since I was born and the Summer King knew about this.  I never married and had no family when he brought you to me, so he thought I was perfect for what he had in mind.  He came knocking one day with you in his arms and I knew then what he wanted me to do.”

 

Alden sighed deeply, trying to take in what he was hearing.  It was difficult to wrap his head around it.  His Nana mentioned he was part of a revenge to the Winter Queen.  Did that mean he was related to the Winter Queen?  He massaged his temples, feeling a headache coming on.

 

“So you’re basically saying that everything I’ve ever believed in while I was growing up was a lie,” he stated, getting annoyed.  “But how – Uh, what – Shit,” he muttered.  “I’m sorry Nana.  But I just can’t – I’m having trouble understanding all of this.”

 

“I know,” Nana soothed at the other end.  She was still sniffling.  “I cannot begin to understand what you must be going through right now.  You are actually taking all of these awfully well.”

 

“I don’t know why, Nana.  But believe me, I am actually not.  There are too many things going through my head right now, I feel like I’m about to explode,” he breathed.  “But I have always felt different ever since starting to see the fae – I probably knew, deep inside – I just…  I just don’t want to acknowledge it.  But if I’m – if I’m really – a faery,” Alden gulped, the word not quite pushing through properly. “Then how did I stay, well – human-like for the past 21 years?”

 

“That bracelet you have on, the silver cuff on your right wrist, do you still have it?” Nana asked.

 

“Yes, never removed it like you asked.  And I couldn’t really remove it even if I wanted to.”

 

“That bracelet is faery-made and only a monarch of either the Summer Court or Winter Court can remove it from your person.  That bracelet helped retain you in the state you currently are in,” she explained, confirming what Maine just told him before.   “The Summer King added another layer of protection as well, so you won’t get noticed immediately by other faeries, given that you are one powerful fae.  Only that time when you tried to remove it did some of that protection leave you hence you started noticing them, and some of the stronger ones started noticing you too.”

 

“Yeah, the strongest even.  The queen herself,” he murmured under his breath.

 

“The Queen?” Nana asked, hearing him, suddenly panicking.  “The Winter Queen knew about you already?”

 

He frowned.  Winter Queen? I’m right then, aren’t I?  That I’m somehow related to her? 

 

“No, Nana.  The Summer Queen does though.  She has plans to make me her king.”

 

“The Summer Queen?!”

 

Alden sighed again.  “Yes, Nana.  But you mentioned about me being kidnapped by the Summer Court from Winter.  Does that mean that I’m – that well, that I’m of Winter?” he asked hesitantly, changing the subject.

 

This time, it was Nana who sighed deeply.  There were just too many revelations for him today.  “Yes, you are, my boy.  You have her mark.  That snow flake looking scar you have on your left shoulder?  That isn’t a scar.  It’s your birthmark.  A mark that tells everyone that you are the next heir for the Winter throne.  The Winter Queen’s mark.  Do you also remember last time we talked and I mentioned about you turning 21?”

 

“Yeah, I remember.”   And I remember not really listening to you thinking it was your usual self, getting into your dramatics.

 

“When you turn 21, that is when your powers as a faery royal can be released.  And I was afraid – I was afraid that the Winter Queen would finally feel that you are indeed alive and well and come for you.”

 

So I am related to her.

 

“Well, she hasn’t. But the Summer Queen –”

 

“The Summer Queen did what?” another voice answered.

 

Alden froze, then slowly turned around, fear gripping him from the voice frosted over with winter chill.  The temperature in the room dropped unexpectedly and he knew right away who was in the room with him.  He didn’t dare ask how she was able to get inside his room; asking dumb questions would probably get him killed. Or worse. He slowly dropped the phone, hearing his Nana’s faint screams on the other end of the line. She’d probably heard that same voice, addressing Alden as an imperious Queen would.

 

“Well, hello there… Son.”

 

 

//

 

 

Maine was worried.  She hadn’t heard from Alden for a week now.  She was notified 3 days earlier by the guards she had assigned to his protection detail that it seemed like Alden never left his dorm room for a couple of days.  They hadn’t seen any activity inside his room whatsoever.

 

So she tried contacting him through his phone but all she ever got was his voicemail.  At first she thought he just needed time to adjust to the notion that he could very well be a faery.  She was considerate enough to give him time.  But after 5 days of no word whatsoever from him, she started worrying.

 

When she wasn’t able to contact him through his phone, she tried going to the library – thinking that he might be there since that was always his safe haven.  He wasn’t.

 

Next, she tried going to his dorm room – only catching Sam in it and Alden’s side of the room completely devoid of anything, like he wasn’t ever there.  And when she asked Sam about Alden – he looked at her like she had grown two heads and asked who in the freaking world was Alden Richards and why was she asking him.

 

That was when her worry became a full-blown panic.  She knew there was faery work in this.  Only someone powerful could erase memories like that from a human.  Did the other courts get a hold of him?  Where was he?

 

She had been pacing back and forth, drilling a hole on her bedroom floor, for the whole day now.  She knew that her fey could feel her agitation.  But she couldn’t help it.  She wanted to know how he is.  No, she NEEDED to know.  He was that important.  In the short span of time that she was able to get to know him – she knew that he was the one person that could make or break her.

 

“Your majesty,” the guard outside her room knocked lightly before opening the door and bowing lowly.

 

“What is it, Kean?” she asked irritably, stopping herself from pacing.  “I told you not to disturb me unless it was important.”

 

“Yes, we know your majesty.  This one actually is.”

 

And with that, her door opened wide, revealing the object of her panic, smiling serenely.

 

“Hi, Maine.”

 

Time stood still and Maine’s eyes widened at the sight of him by her door.  For a moment – she couldn’t believe that he was finally there, in her loft, for her.

 

“ALDEN!” she cried out, running towards him, tears started forming at the corner of her eyes.

 

He immediately picked her up when she threw herself at him, her legs automatically going around his waist, her arms around his neck, her head tucked in.  She inhaled his scent and sighed deeply, her voice quaking as she asked, “Where were you? I was worried sick!”

 

“Sshhh…” he murmured, caressing her hair.  “Important thing is I’m here now, right?”

 

She looked at him and held his face in her hands, staring at his eyes.  There was something different about his countenance, she couldn’t exactly pinpoint it but at that moment – she didn’t care.  She was just happy he came to see her.

 

He put her down gently and smoothed her hair away from her face, still smiling that serene smile – his deep dimple showing on his left cheek.  He caressed her face back, his fingers trailing down, touching her lips in the process, ending at the back of her neck, his other hand staying on her cheek.  She leaned into his hand and stared back at him, her eyes showing him promises of what they could do just then together.  His smile slowly fell and was then replaced with a smoldering stare.

 

She wet her lips in anticipation, a sudden heated smile showing through.  “I missed you,” she whispered, her hands still on his face.

 

“And I, you,” he whispered back.

 

He then swooped down and captured her lips with his, both of them moaning in the process, her arms immediately going around his neck.  He groaned when she opened up for him once more and a battle of tongues ensued.  The guards seeing that they started to get busy, closed the door to Maine’s room quietly and locking it, leaving the two alone.

 

They stayed connected, lips dancing, even when Alden picked Maine up one more time and went further into her room, finally laying her down gently on her massive bed.

 

He only broke the kiss when she started unbuttoning his shirt.  He looked at her and studied her – her face flushed, hair tousled, red lips even redder if that was possible, pupils wide and dark, filled with lust and something more, much much more, all directed towards him.

 

He smirked, his deep dimple making an appearance yet again and Maine couldn’t help but poke it, earning a chuckle from him.  She was still unbuttoning his shirt and was already at the last button when he breathed deeply, inhaling her scent, closing his eyes in the process.

 

“What?” she asked, smiling as well, her hands trailing along the expanse of his now uncovered chest, all the way down to his toned and defined abs, finally finishing at this happy trail.

 

He shook his head and leaned down once more, kissing her languidly this time, his hands sliding down the strap of her silk gown down her shoulders.  She squirmed a little, feeling the blazing hot trail of his hand touching her everywhere.  She broke the kiss time, feeling the need for air as he continued trailing open-mouthed kisses down her neck and shoulders, going down towards her breasts.

 

She pulled him back up towards her to claim his lips once more, this time fighting for dominance.  She maneuvered him in a way that made her be on top of him, straddling him, feeling his hardness all over her softness.

 

She stared at him, her eyes roving his face, his form, his whole being.  Despite the difference that she felt coming from him when he first came in, she still knew that he would be hers – no matter what.  He was here, and that was all that mattered.

 

“I’m yours.  Always,” he said softly, answering her unasked question as if he was able to read her mind.

 

She didn’t reply.  Instead, she removed the remaining clothes she had on and proceeded to do the same to him.  She then leaned down and kissed him again.

 

And then…

 

She moaned.

 

He thrust.

 

She rocked.

 

And whimpered.

 

He groaned.

 

And grunted.

 

They cried out.

 

And came.

 

No other words were needed.

 

 

//

 

 

Alden watched a sleeping Maine beside him, his head propped up on his hand.  She was facing away from him, blanket around her waist, revealing her bare back towards him.  He smiled as he remembered what just transpired between them.  How his name sounded on her lips when she cried out his name.  How he cried out her name in return when she gripped him and he came.

 

He would always be hers, he knew that now.

 

He traced a finger down her spine and grinned when she moved and moaned.  He followed his finger with his lips, placing open mouthed kisses down her back.  She then faced him, stopping his ministrations, as she sleepily smiled back at him.

 

“Hey.”

 

“Hey, yourself,” he replied quietly, kissing her softly.

 

“Hmmm…  I could get used to this,” she said, stretching her arms up.  “Me, waking up with you being the first person I see.”

 

His smile slightly faltered but nonetheless stayed but still – Maine noticed.  She sat up, blanket pooling at her middle, revealing her naked breasts to him.  “What’s wrong?” she asked, a little frown forming on her brows.

 

“Nothing,” he replied, a genuine smile now in place when he noted that she didn’t even bother covering herself up.  “You’re very distracting, you know,” he teased.

 

She chuckled.  “Shut it, you,” she answered him, blushing.  She took the blanket and wrapped it around her, covering her nakedness from him.

 

“Now tell me what’s bothering you,” she demanded, lying down beside him once more.

 

“So demanding,” he chortled.

 

“Alden…”

 

“Yes, my queen,” he replied softly, earning him an easy smile from her.  She waited for him to speak after that, knowing that he would, eventually, since he really couldn’t resist her anyway.

 

He sighed then held her hand in his tightly.  “Remember that I will always be yours, Maine.  Always.”

 

Her frown was back.  And he hated himself for putting it there.  “Why do I feel like you are saying goodbye?” she asked.

 

“Because I am Rhonda’s son.”

 

 

//

 

 

He is Rhonda’s son.  Rhonda.  The Winter Queen. 

 

Maine was massaging her temples as she tried to wrap her head around Alden’s confession.  She was in her study looking through books and journals that her parents left as well as other documents that would help her verify if he was indeed Rhonda’s son.  That he was of Winter.

 

Of all the things that he would be – of course, he would be the one thing that she couldn’t possibly have.

 

Summer and Winter did not mix.  At all.  It was forbidden.

 

Queen Rhonda’s child was killed when it was but a babe.  That was what we found out about that.  So how could Alden be her son?!  What really happened?!

 

He explained to her that his mother, the Queen of the Winter Court, came for him a week ago, right when he was still trying to understand everything that they initially talked about the bracelet and how it was faery-made. And that that was where he was the whole time, acclimating himself with his future court, at his mother’s side.

 

He said that he talked to his Nana, the human who raised him from when he was a child, who confirmed everything regarding him being a fey.  He also talked about his mother, how cold and technical she was in explaining everything about their court in the beginning but that they grew to tolerate one another and — dare he say it — started being warm with one another. He also described how his mother showed him how he would rule their court in the future.  It was disconcerting at first, he said, but that he grew to love it considering that he had always been fond of winter and the coldness it brought.

 

The one thing, however, that stood out to her when he was telling his story was the part wherein her father had a hand in him being raised in the human world.

 

And that was why she was in her study, poring over countless of journals and documents – trying to get to the bottom of this and why her father was the reason that Queen Rhonda lost her son all those years ago.

 

He cannot be taken away from me when I only just found him!  Alden is my king, my heart, my life!

 

She all but gave up and threw the last journal that she was skimming on her table, rubbing her already tired eyes from reading the whole day.  She stood up and stretched and in the process, the journal that she was just reading fell.

 

“Damn it!” she cursed softly, bending down to pick up the fallen journal.  When she finally got a hold of it, she noticed a little folded paper – sticking out at the end of the journal.  Curious, she took it out and spread it on her table.  She gasped upon realizing what it was.

 

A letter.  From her late father, written almost a week before he passed.  Addressed to her.

 

 

//

 

 

My Lovely Nicomaine,

 

I don’t know when you would come by this letter.  But I do hope you will at the right time.  And I do sincerely hope that it is not yet too late.

 

I am writing this letter to explain to you something that I’ve done.  I am also writing this letter to let you know the truth about your mother’s death. 

 

All you ever knew was that your mother was murdered by the Winter Queen because of jealousy.  We left it at that.  We didn’t expound on why the Winter Queen was jealous of your mother.

 

The truth was – your mother was having an affair, my darling daughter.  With one of my advisors.  I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to taint how you saw your mother.  And I knew you loved her with all your heart.  I didn’t want to change that. 

 

And so I bore the pain of finding out about your mother’s treachery.  The worst part about all of this – aside from her affair – was that your mother had an affair with the Winter Queen’s lover. 

 

Yes, my dear sweet child.  One of my advisors was Rhonda’s lover.  We all know that it is forbidden, the joining together of Summer and Winter.  We do not know what consequences it would have and so we never ever crossed that line.  Until Raine.  Do you remember him?  He was my most trusted advisor.  And he was the one who betrayed me the most. 

 

He went to Winter, charmed Rhonda, became her lover.  That love of theirs bore a fruit, a child. 

 

When Raine found out – he never went back to Winter, afraid of the consequences of what he had done.  But then – he started wreaking havoc in our court after.  He started charming Marian, your mother instead.  And my wife – my loving, sweet wife fell for it. 

 

I was heartbroken.  But I pressed on.  I wasn’t even sure if Marian knew that I knew about her infidelity.  She was still the same with me as always.  Our Summer Court was still flourishing.  Our fey didn’t notice that there was anything amiss.  Everything was still as it is. 

 

Until that time when Rhonda came to our home and murdered her in rage.  At first I was livid and furious at her.  I didn’t understand then why she would have done that.  All of our court felt that.  I wanted revenge.  I wanted to kill something or someone that was important to her as well, given that she killed my wife with no reason.  Or so I thought.

 

Then Raine came forward and spoke with me.  Explained everything and came clean about his relationship with both Marian and Rhonda.  In my wrath at that moment – I killed him.  No one except the guards who were with us knew about it.  And they were sworn in to secrecy.  They understood though why I did what I did. 

 

I was still so furious that I decided to pay Rhonda a visit one night.  It was Summer Solstice at that time and I knew she was at her weakest.  I wanted to get even, hurt her the way she had hurt me.  When I went to her home, I heard a faint cry from the room next to hers.  That was it.  That was the child that I came for.  I was going to kill her child, the same way she killed my wife.

 

I remember going inside that room and looking over the little baby bassinet.  And there I saw the consequence of when Summer and Winter join together.  That little bundle with his tiny fist and little face that was looking at me straight, not crying but not smiling either.

 

I took that baby in my arms and look into his eyes.  Saw how there were little sunbursts in it and my heart softened.  This baby, this little tiny fey – was still part Summer.  And I couldn’t harm him, even if my heart was telling me that he was what I needed for my revenge. 

 

So I did the next best thing that I could.  I took the babe and hid him in the human world.  I asked one of the humans I know of that has The Sight to take care of him and raise him as she would a human. 

 

But I know there would come a time that his mother would come look for him.  He is also part Winter after all.  Despite all the protection that I placed on him, he would still be found.  And I know that him being part Winter and part Summer – Rhonda would definitely have big uses for him.  She could use his ability to be a part of the Summer Court to take over us.  And that is something that I do not think I would have the power to stop, should she decide to do so.

 

And here is where I would ask you, my sweet child, upon my dying breath – an enormous task that I wouldn’t ask of you if I know you couldn’t do it.  

 

Find him, my daughter.  Find him and bring him to Summer.  Make him choose Summer instead of Winter. 

 

He has the ability to do so.  He only needs to renounce his allegiance to Winter and come pledge himself to Summer.  In this way – I will find peace knowing that I still did right in the end.

 

Find him, sweet Nicomaine.  Find Alden Richards.

 

Yours till the end,

Your Father,

Theo

 

 

//

 

 

Alden was getting bored at his new home.  He was starting to get agitated.  All he ever did at the Winter Court was meet with different people, particularly his mother’s advisors, the guards and some of the soldiers as well.  He met several of the Winter Fey too and all they ever talked about was how they feel that this winter season was the time to make their move on Summer.

 

They were all civil towards him, given that he was the son of the Winter Queen.  But he mostly felt out of place in his own court.  He knew there were talks about his closeness with the Summer Queen and he knew some of them were thinking of using him to get even with the Summer Court.

 

Alden gritted his teeth, listening to every one that was seated at the throne room of his mother debate, if their plans could be best done during the Winter Solstice, when the night was longest and when Summer were at their weakest.

 

He honestly couldn’t take whatever it was that they were discussing.  Sure, he was a part of winter.  Sure, he loved the cold and the arctic chill – especially since he totally loved everything there was about winter.  But they were still talking about destroying Summer (or at least crippling it in the meantime), and Summer was where Maine was – his queen, his heart, his love, his life.

 

He stood up abruptly when he couldn’t take it anymore, getting the attention of everyone in the room, a sudden stillness enveloping them.  He looked towards his mother and asked, “May I speak with you, alone, please?”

 

The Queen looked at him for a moment before gesturing at everyone to leave.  Alden remained standing up, watching his mother, waiting for the last of the winter fey advisors to leave.

 

When they were alone, only then did the queen speak to him.  “What is it that you wish to tell me, my son?”

 

Alden took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  He didn’t know how to start.  He knew that what he was going to say was the most unpopular opinion there was in the Winter Court, but he had to – for Maine.

 

“I do not want you making plans against Summer.”

 

Queen Rhonda did not react immediately, choosing instead to gaze at her son as if she was studying him.  “And why is that, Alden?”

 

“Because that is where the love of my life is,” he stated firmly, staring at the queen, unflinchingly.

 

“Are you sure she is the love of your life?” the queen asked, tilting her head to side – gazing at him.  “How sure are you that she is the one?  Any one of the Winter girls here could also be the one for you.  And you do know that Summer and Winter can never be together, right?”

 

“She is the one for me,” he reiterated.  “I don’t care about what you say but she is the one.  I met her first before I even met you.  You didn’t even give me the courtesy to come with you on my own volition.  You just took me away.  And being powerless because of this –” he put up his right wrist where the silver cuff bracelet was still resting.  “I had no choice but to come with you.”

 

“I could very well remove that now, Alden – if that’s what you wish for.  You will feel the full power of Winter once that is gone from your wrist.  Would you like that?”

 

Alden stopped himself from ranting further and bit his lower lip, thinking.  He knew that this could be her tactic so he would forget about Maine.  But still…  “You could remove it and then what?  What do you mean by the power of Winter?”

 

Queen Rhonda smiled wickedly.  “You would be Winter, inside and out.  Don’t you want that?  Imagine, being able to control the cold.  Being able to amass this power over thousands of fey.  Being Winter…”

 

Alden bowed his head and rubbed his neck, thinking hard.  If he was released from this binding – then he would have the power to maybe overthrow his mother so that the plans against Summer would not push through once he was the one on the throne.  But then again – if Winter overtook him, would he forget about the time he spent with Maine, the one he professed to love?

 

Please let this be the right decision.

 

“All right.  Let’s remove this then.”

 

 

//

 

 

 

A couple of weeks passed and Maine had not heard from Alden during that time.  There were no calls, no letter, not even post-it notes.  She was once again getting worried.  It was already the peak of Winter, with the solstice actually nearing.  She did not know how to get a hold of him as he didn’t leave any way or means to contact him, only telling her that he would come back and soon.

 

When that would be, she didn’t know.

 

She was back to pacing back and forth, gnawing her fingernails, worry evident in the frown of her brows.  She could feel her fey weakening.  Although it was mostly understood given that it was already winter, but more so now because she was distressed.  She needed to psych herself up to stop worrying too much and to concentrate on how to get her court strengthened again.

 

But that just wasn’t the case with her at that moment.

 

Come on, Alden.  Where are you?  I need you!  I need to talk to you.  I need to see you.  I just need you.  Please…

 

She laid on her bed, trying to relax.  Her fey needed her and she wouldn’t be any good to them if she was out of it like she was just then.  She closed her eyes and tried to calm down.  She then decided to take a little nap.  Maybe that would help even for a while.

 

 

//

 

 

Maine woke up to the feeling of someone raking a hand through her hair.  She hummed in submission to the light touch she was feeling.  She smiled, though she still had her eyes closed because she had an inkling as to who was with her at that moment.  For the first time in days, she felt calm and at peace.

 

“I thought you had forgotten about me already,” she said quietly, slowly opening her eyes.  Her smile grew when she saw Alden, sitting beside her with that dimpled smile on his face looking at her lovingly.

 

“Not you.  Never you,” he whispered back.

 

She sat up and wrapped her arms around him, embracing him tightly.  “Please do not leave me hanging like that ever again.  I don’t think I can live if I don’t have you.  I cannot lose you.”

 

“You won’t lose me, Maine.  I am here.  Always.”

 

She pulled back and gazed at him, drinking him all in.  He was still the same Alden from a couple of weeks back but then – there was something different about his countenance yet again.

 

“Something changed,” she remarked, gazing at him.  He grinned and showed her his wrists.

 

She frowned, her brows furrowing at what he was showing her.  And then her eyes widened when it dawned on her what it was that was different about him.

 

“You do not have your binding bracelet anymore and you look more fae than human now,” she whispered quite disbelievingly.  “But what does this mean?  You’re here and you can still touch me but you’re totally Winter now and what is going to happen to us?” she rambled.

 

“I chose you.”

 

That stopped her prattles, a questioning look in her eyes.  She stared at him, looked straight in his eyes for a moment.  She then saw the sunbursts bursting within his pupils and it finally dawned on her.

 

“You knew.”

 

He nodded, pulling her close and planting a soft kiss on her lips.  He smiled at her sweetly when they pulled apart.

 

“Mother finally explained who I really was.  When she removed my bindings, she thought then that she would be able to use me as the fey that has both Summer and Winter powers to take over the Summer Court,” he said, while gently pushing her down on her bed, hovering on top of her.

 

“But it backfired on her because I had apparently chosen already and she couldn’t use me anymore.  The power knew that my heart already belonged to you, that I was starting to be more Summer than Winter,” he continued, leaning down and pecking her lips once more.

 

“But what about your mother?  The Winter Queen?  Won’t she be mad that she lost you again?  Should I ready my soldiers?  Are we going to war?” she asked breathlessly as Alden continued on kissing her softly down her neck and behind her ear.

 

“You do not need to,” he whispered directly at her ear, making her shiver.  “I am more powerful than she thought I was, being that I have both summer and winter within me.  She wouldn’t be able to touch me, or you and the Summer Court now that I chose you.  Else she wants to risk getting her own court destroyed.”

 

“So you’re here with me, now?  You’ll be my king, my life, my love?” Maine asked, as she lovingly gazed at him.

 

“I told you, I am yours.  Always.”

 

 

FIN

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